Your bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your home. It should be a calm and clean space to start your day off in the best possible way and a sanctuary to relax and wind down at the end of the day.
It's one of the best places to start when simplifying and decluttering your home. It's one of the most regularly used rooms in your home (by everyone) and so it can quickly become cluttered with products. Half-used bottles and pots, dust gathering cosmetics and toiletries can quickly multiply and take over the surfaces, shelves and cupboards, making it harder to keep clean.
If you are guilty of keeping make up for years - just in case, one day, you might like that colour again; or you have a habit of buying and trying every beauty product that is recommended online, in magazines or by friends and family, and/or you buy and hoard multiple spares because you can't clearly see what you already have, so never really know what you need - it's time to simplify and organise your bathroom.
Here are some steps to help you;
STEP ONE - Know Your Why
The reason for simplifying and organising any space in your home is to create a physical system that works with your routines and rituals, to support you in living a calm, happy, healthy life.
To successfully edit your bathroom, you need to think about how the room is used.
Where are your clutter hotspots and problem areas?
What makes up your morning and bedtime routines? What products do you need? Where do you apply and take your make up off? What stops your routine from flowing?
What are your favourite products and brands? Know what YOU like. When you ask yourself what you really need when decluttering, you're also likely to come across items that you don't need and could live without, but you really like or love them. Knowing what you wouldn't want to be without makes it easier to let go of the ones that you're not so bothered about.
Who uses the room apart from you? If you have children, what do they need on a daily/weekly basis?
Now that you are clear on how the space needs to work for you and what you need in it, its time to start sorting.
STEP TWO - SORT
Find somewhere with some surface space where you can spread out. Get out every single item in your bathroom. Clear all the surfaces, shelves, drawers and cupboards and sort into like for like categories, such as;
☐ Bath/Shower products
☐ Hair Styling
☐ Feminine/Personal Products
☐ Hair Removal
☐ Medicines and Prescriptions
☐ Children's things
☐ Other peoples things (you can't declutter for other adults in your home, so just put their items together to be sorted separately with their permission).
☐ Things that don't belong in the bathroom - Keep these together and relocate them after you finished sorting the bathroom items.
Label each category with a sticky note.
When you see all of your products at a glance, you might be surprised at just how many you have.
STEP THREE - DECLUTTER and SIMPLIFY
Work through each category in turn, and question everything...
Do you need it?
Try and purge your products down to what you use daily or weekly. Remove anything that isn't either essential to your everyday routine, or that you absolutely love and makes you happy.
Do you like using it? Can you honestly tell if it makes a difference to the way that you look and feel?
Has it been used and then forgotten about?
Is it within the usable date? Let go fo anything that has expired, is past it's best or has been open for years (even that expensive luxury product that you couldn't quite bring yourself to throw out because it has a tiny bit left in the bottom).
This is especially important in the bathroom because products such as makeup, sunscreen and medication, can actually be harmful if you use them when they are too old. If you are unsure how old it is, it's best to err on the side of caution for bathroom items.
If it hasn't been used, are you actually going to use it in the next few months? Let go of the things that you don't or won't use.
Why do I have this? It's time to let go of that scented hand cream or bubble bath that your great aunt gave you for Christmas 2 years ago. The one that you haven't got round to using (probably never will) and have kept because you think you should.
Get rid of any miscellaneous items or objects unless you love them, and they add to the look and feel of your bathroom. They can add to the cluttered look and will make keeping your bathroom clean more difficult.
What to do with de-cluttered items
Donate anything that is new and unused. Unwanted gifts, unused products and overflow products can be donated to your local charity shop, women's refuge or Beauty Banks.
Anything that has been used, out of date or has been sat on a shelf for years will be unsuitable and will need to be thrown away.
STEP FOUR - ORGANISE
Now that you have decluttered you should only be left with the things that you love and need...
Remembering what you thought about in step one and what you need, line up the products for your daily routines. Choose one of each type of product, and put them in the place nearest to where you carry out that routine. Regularly used items should be in locations where they can be easily accessed and put back after use.
Try and keep surfaces and bath and sink area as clear as possible, with only the things that you use every day out on display. This will make it easier to clean and make your bathroom look less cluttered.
Make sure that all razors and medicines are out of reach of reach of children.
Surplus 'Shop' Stock
All of the surplus products need to be stored somewhere (preferably out of sight) in your 'shop'. Alongside things that we don't need, we often have products that are genuinely useful but feel overwhelming because we have too many of them. Put them away until you are ready to use them. Depending on how may surplus products you have, you can either store in 'like for like' category containers or if you only have a few keep them together in one basket or container. Keep them in a cupboard or on a shelf and make sure that they are clearly labelled. Use them one by one before you buy any more.
STEP FIVE - STORE AND CONTAIN
Before you can think about storage, you need to make sure that you have decluttered as much as possible, organised into your simple 'like for like' categories and know the space where these categories will be stored. Only then will you know what storage/containers you will need and will best fit the space.
Don't just go and out and buy storage items without first checking its purpose and suitability in your space. Stick to what you really need and keep it simple. Make a list before you go out shopping. Measure the space before you buy any new storage (depth/height/width). Try and re-purpose any surplus storage that you already have in your home.
Designate a container or basket for each family members non-shared toiletry items. Not only will this save space but it will reduce the amount of time spent searching for things.
Make sure that you clearly label wherever possible.
My favourite storage companies for bathrooms are MUJI, The Holding Company, IKEA.
STEP SIX - HABITS, ROUTINES AND RITUALS.
The next step is an ongoing task and perhaps the most important step of all.
You might think that clearing out the clutter is the most important part of what you have done. Actually creating and maintaining a system that keeps you clutter free is the aim of the whole exercise. Once you have decluttered and organised the space, you will enjoy the calmness and clarity. Keep it that way by setting yourself the following routines, rituals and habits.
Keep it tidy
The new organisation in the bathroom will make it easier for you to be tidy, but you must make putting things away, first time, a rule. Don't put anything in the wrong place with the intention of coming back to it later.
If other family members still create piles of things in the wrong place, think about the pattern of use that would make them do that. Adjust the storage and systems if needed. For example; If towels and clothes end up on the floor, do you need extra hooks to dry them off after a bath or shower, or a laundry basket in the bathroom instead of/in addition to elsewhere in your home. Aim to create an easy flow.
Promise yourself that you will keep your bathroom like this for the next month. See how it feels. Include a quick 5 minute tidy up as part of your routines. Re-set everything before you close the door on the bathroom in the morning and before you go to bed each night.
Keep it clean
Bathrooms can look very dirty, very quickly (especially if you have a large family). Wipe over surfaces regularly and do a clean once per week (put it in your calendar or planner). You won't have to move all those bottles, lotions and potions out of the way, as everything should now have a home so it will be much easier to keep clean.
Keep some basic cleaning essentials (like anti-bac wipes) in the bathroom.
Keep it simple
Keep your morning and bedtime routines as simple as possible. Only use one of each type of product at a time. When you take your last product from your 'shop', add another to your shopping list. I get a much greater sense of satisfaction and enjoyment of a product when I know that I can enjoy using one product at a time and then look forward to choosing and buying another when I need it.
Don't get tempted by the big bulk buy offers and overbuy. Stick to your shopping list and only buy what you plan. You do not need lots of spares - it's not the end of the word if one day you find yourself short on bubble bath!
I bet that every bathroom harbours products that we have bought because someone told us we should or we assume that we need to buy it because everyone uses it. Think about what you need? It will be a lot less than you think.